Puyallup – Scouts across the nation have taken their unit flags around the world in interesting places such as Mt. Everest, on board the Challenger space craft, rocketed to outer space, on board the International Space Station and around the moon. The latest involves Cub Scout Pack 274 in Puyallup, chartered by the Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian Church USA.
The Cub Scouts’ patrol flag was taken and flown down to the Phoenix Airfield next to McMurdo Station in Antarctica as a show of pride and education in one of the most uninhabitable places on the planet.
The Tellez Family
Brandon Tellez, 42, has two sons, Conner, 11 and Bryce, 8. Conner is in Scouts BSA Troop 274. Conner is in Cub Scout Pack 274. For the past six years, Brandon Tellez been an active adult volunteer with the Scouts and serves as the Committee Chair of Pack 274 and as the Bear Den Leader.
The two years of the pandemic has been hard on everyone, including Scouts. Morale because of restrictions on social distancing, getting together for meetings, cancellation of regular school and taking care to stay safe at home has impacted everyone nationwide.
So, Tellez decided he wanted to do something about this. He wanted to provide tangible recognition for the young people in Scouting and the things they’ve managed to accomplish despite adversity worldwide.
Brandon and his wife; Michelle made many home delivery trips to drop off materials to local Scouting families in the Puyallup area in 2020 and 2021.
They made sure Scouts had what was needed to continue the Scouting experience, working through Cub Scout adventure programs, and connecting with other Scouts via videoconference. This was all done by no-contact delivery (leaving items at doorsteps and knocking, before returning to the vehicle). They always place the safety of the Scout and their family, first.
The Long Way Down and Back
So, Tellez hit on an idea. You see, his day job is a U.S. Air Force pilot based out of Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington state.
Lt. Col. Tellezs’ flight crew transports people, equipment and supplies for the National Science Foundation to and from McMurdo, Antarctica, staging out of Christchurch, New Zealand. McMurdo Station is a U.S. research facility operated by the National Science Foundation, which is an independent agency of the U.S. government supporting fundamental research and education in areas such as aeronomy, astrophysics, geospace sciences, biology, ecosystems, geology, geophysics, glaciology, geomorphology, ice cores, and ocean and climate systems.
The Air Force operates the C-17 Globemaster III aircraft which carry more than 125 people or 100,000 pounds of cargo. This can include scientific research equipment, experiments, or basic supplies such food and tools. These items are necessary because the environment in Antarctica can be extreme with temperatures dropping to minus 50 degrees Celsius (-58 degrees below zero Fahrenheit). It is cold, windy, and snowy at the bottom of the world.
In addition to flying Pack 274’s flag in Antarctica, each Cub Scout in Pack 274’s Wolf Den (Bryce was a Wolf Cub in 2020 and is now a Bear Cub) received a postcard from Antarctica documenting the event at Phoenix Air Field, which is a new landing strip that was established. Phoenix Airfield replaced the aging Pegasus Field when environmental conditions rendered Pegasus Field unfit to support the C-17 which can weigh as much as 490,000 pounds when fully loaded when it lands on ice. The area at Pegasus Field was melting because of environmental warming. Not a good location for landing an aircraft loaded with people, equipment, and supplies.
All About Antarctica
Lt. Col. Tellez said this was an important event to allow the boys and girls in the Scout Pack to learn about the Southern Hemisphere and to see their flag flying in an important research station at the bottom of the world. Tellez was also a Scout in his youth and relishes his role as a Scout teacher and leader.
The flag traveled more than 19,000 miles from McChord Field to McMurdo station and back. Lt. Col. Tellez returned home with the flag and received a standing ovation from Scouts and parents at a meeting on November 18, 2021. The flag is on display at The Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian Church in Puyallup, Washington and is now present at every Cub Scout Den and Pack meeting.
Even Adult Scout Volunteers Do Good Deeds
“We always hear about Scouts doing good deeds in the community, but rarely do we see and hear about the adult volunteers who spend time, resources and energy working with our young people to grow intellectually and to serve as positive role models,” said Karen Meier, Chief Executive Officer of the Pacific Harbors Council of the Boy Scouts of America. “We’ve had Scout flags to the Moon, we’ve had them go to the highest mountains around the globe and now we have Pack 274’s presence in Antarctica. Thank you, Lt. Col. Tellez and his air crew for doing this. Thank you to the entire Tellez family for supporting Scouting in our community,” said Meier.
Operation Deep Freeze
“Operation Deep Freeze has been a long-standing mission, supported as a true team effort here at McChord Field,” said Col. David Fazenbaker, commander of the 62d Airlift Wing. “Along with our active-duty service men and women, our reserve component partners in the 446th Airlift Wing also contribute to this truly unique mission set that only exists here at McChord.
“Being able to bring a little awareness of not only the flying mission that we operate, but also the important scientific mission on the Antarctic surface was an important opportunity that I was excited about. My hope is that we can use these types of events to spark interest in flying and the National Science Foundation’s continued research mission in our community and foster a new generation of scientists, researchers, and aviation enthusiasts!”
About The Pacific Harbors Council of the Boy Scouts of America
The Pacific Harbors Council of the Boy Scouts of America supports Scouting Units across the South Sound from Federal Way to Centralia and from the Washington Coast to the Cascade foothills. This includes, Cub Scouts, Venture Scouts, Scouts BSA, Sea Scouts and Explorer Scouts. Nearly 4,000 young people participate in Scouting locally. The Mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. Cub Scouting is part of the Scouts BSA program and is open to boys and girls from grades K-5. For more information on Scouting go to: beascout.org